My question involves a careless driving ticket from the State of: Florida
I was in the left-hand turn lane on a six-lane highway and there was one vehicle in front of me. The light was green, and there was no traffic coming in the opposite direction for at least 2/10 of a mile, perhaps more. The driver did not make the left turn, and I saw the passenger reach over a couple of times and pull on what appeared to be the gear shift. Then the passenger turned around to the back seat and waved his arm as if to indicate for me to go around. I looked in my rearview mirror and no traffic was coming behind me, so I put my right turn signal on to indicate I was exiting the left-hand turn lane and entering the regular left lane to go around the driver on the right side of the vehicle. Then, I immediately put on my left turn signal to indicate to the driver that had been in front of me that I was going in front of her and to the oncoming traffic, if any (there wasn't) that I was making the left-hand turn into the shopping plaza I was intending to patronize. This happened at 4:39 pm and the conditions were clear and dry. The officer asked me if I knew that it was illegal to do what I did, and I told him that I didn't and that I had done it before. He then asked me why I thought that the driver wasn't turning and I said that it may have been because there was something wrong with the vehicle. He said that the vehicle's emergency flashers weren't on, to which I agreed, but I thought that that still doesn't mean there wasn't something wrong with the vehicle. He asked me if I thought maybe she was making sure it was safe to make a turn and I agreed that it was possible. However, I don't think this was the case, again, because there was no traffic coming towards us. The officer also asked me if I thought that the Florida Drivers Manual states that what I did was acceptable and I said I didn't think so. The officer gave me a citation for careless driving. I realize that under normal circumstances you're not to go around someone in the left hand lane, but in this situation, I felt in was appropriate and I was anything but careless while performing this traffic maneuver. Also, I knew the officer was behind me, so does it really make sense that if I thought I was doing something wrong; I would actually do it in front of the officer? I did take a look at the 2010 Drivers Manual and it reads that if you're not in the appropriate turn lane then, the driver is supposed to go to the next turn lane or intersection where a safe turn can be made. I realize it boils down to the officer’s perspective as to whether or not I was careless in my driving. I have been out of work for more than a year and can’t afford to pay the fine ($164.00) or have my insurance rates go up. I can choose to take the Driver’s class ($28) and pay the fine ($164.00), which would keep my insurance rates from increasing and no points on my license. If I fight it and lose, I could pay as much as $500, plus court costs. Should I fight it? If so, what’s the best argument I can give?